The Hospital Incident

I remembered something the other day.  I had to have surgery quite a few years ago.  Shane was just a year old and still nursing frequently.  I knew that the surgery would require me to stay overnight at the hospital.  The doctor would not budge about that no matter how much I protested that I needed it to be an outpatient procedure.

I rented a breast pump from the hospital a few days before I was scheduled for surgery.  Shane was eating solid foods but he wasn’t drinking anything but my milk and water at this point.  When I rented it, I had to spend money to rent the pump and I had to pay for the pump kit that I needed to use it.  I was determined to leave Bubba enough milk for Shane so that he wouldn’t be left without for the two days I’d be gone.

I worked so hard to pump as much as I could.  I ended up being able to leave 10 ounces for Shane.  That was it.  I was disappointed because I knew that he’d require much more than that for the time span that I’d be gone.  When I rented the pump, the hospital told me that I was to return the pump only to them – back in the maternity ward and nowhere else.  When they were returned to the information desk, they tended to get damaged or lost and I didn’t to be held liable for replacing a hospital grade electric breast pump!

The day of surgery rolled around and the procedure went beautifully and I was in recovery before too long.  Bubba came to see me and brought Shane with him.  I’d already cleared it with my doctor and he agreed that I could nurse Shane as soon as I felt up to it.  When Bubba brought Shane into recovery, Shane wouldn’t come near me.  I was hooked up to an IV, monitors, and had all kinds of machines beeping and making noise.  Shane was scared and didn’t know what to make of his Mama laying in the bed like that.  He wouldn’t come anywhere near me, let alone nurse.

I’d very clearly given Bubba instructions about the pump before my procedure.  I’d told him to bring it with him just in case what was happening now happened.  If Shane refused to nurse, I’d need to pump until Shane nursed again.  Bubba took Shane and left, telling me he’d be back in the evening.  One of the last things I said to him before I went back to sleep was, “Don’t forget to bring me the pump when you come back this evening.”

When he arrived that evening, I practically begged Bubba to hurry up and give me the pump.  As soon as he walked in the room, it became apparent that Shane was again going to have nothing to do with me.  My breasts were about to explode after having been filling with milk for over nine hours at this point.  My breasts were hard as boulders and they hurt almost as much as my abdomen from the surgery!  Bubba looked at me blankly and said he’d returned the pump to the information desk when he’d gotten there that afternoon.  He’d done exactly what I’d told him NOT to do!  I’d been very clear, yet he was telling me that I’d never told him not to do that.

I was in so much pain.  I started yelling at him.  He yelled back.  The nurse came running and asked me what was going on.  In between hysterical sobs, I told her what the problem was.  She was obviously disgusted and asked me if I’d like her to have him removed.  Bubba shot me a dirty look and I told her I was fine but that I would appreciate it if she could call up to maternity and see if Bubba could go get me another pump and pump kit.  I was also upset about the cost.  I’d have to pay another almost $50 for another pump kit.

My nurse didn’t call maternity.  She called my doctor and told him what was going on.  She came back less than 20 minutes later with a pump and pump kit and told me that my doctor had taken care of it and I wasn’t to worry about the charge.  I could’ve kissed her!  I started pumping and got more than six ounces of milk pumped in less than 10 minutes!  I then told Bubba that I was really tired and since it was time for my pain shot, I told him to take Shane home and get the kids ready for bed.  Bubba told me he’d be back in the morning.

I didn’t sleep well.  I don’t think anyone sleeps well in the hospital, but it was more than that.  I was worried about Shane.  He awoke very frequently at night and I had a feeling he was at home, screaming and alone, while Bubba slept through it.

The next morning, Bubba and Shane arrived.  Shane finally got down and was moving around my room, checking things out.  Bubba sat in the visitor’s chair and immediately fell asleep.  Shane headed for the portable toilet that was beside my bed and I was not in a position to be able to stop him.  I yelled for Bubba to wake up.  I called his name three times and he never moved.  The nurse heard me and came in and asked what the problem was.  I pointed to Shane, who by this time was actively trying to dismantle the potty that had a bit of urine in it and to Bubba who was sleeping.  She went over and shook Bubba and told him to take care of his son because I was unable to parent at the moment.

My doctor did his rounds a couple hours later and Bubba had gone home by this time.  When the doctor came in, it was obvious that the nurses had told him all about Bubba’s behavior because he was very angry.  He told me that I needed to concentrate on healing and he was worried that I wouldn’t be able to do that at home.  He was talking about keeping me another night.  That struck terror into my heart.  Instead, I asked if I could just go home now since I’d be able to sleep in my own bed.  The doctor compromised and told me I could go home as soon as I could get my bowels to move on the condition that I let him call Bubba and explain that I need to rest and he needs to do all the housework and the bulk of parenting for the next 6 weeks.  I hoped that a lecture from the doctor would help so I told him he could.

When the doctor did his evening rounds, I proudly told him that I’d been able to move my bowels just ten minutes before he arrived and that I needed him to sign my discharge papers.  He immediately got the nurses moving to ready my papers and went over my discharge instructions with me.  I then tried to call Bubba to pick me up, but he wasn’t answering either his cell phone or the house phone.  I had to call a friend to come pick me up.  The doctor told me that he’d indeed called Bubba and read him the riot act about his behavior in the hospital and told him exactly what he needed to do to make sure I would heal.

What I didn’t put together at the time (better known as denying and justifying) was that Bubba was punishing me for the doctor calling him on his bad behavior.  I was telling myself that he was busy with the children so he couldn’t answer the phone.  What I understand now is that I was in serious trouble for that phone call.

Two weeks later, I was back in the doctor’s office, in more pain than I’d been in since I’d had the surgery.  The doctor asked what I’d done the previous day and I told him I emptied the dishwasher, loaded it, and threw one load of laundry in the washing machine (and that it was still there!).  I told him that it took me 10 hours to accomplish that tiny bit.  He looked me straight in the eye and told me that I’d absolutely done too much, I needed to STOP, and that if I chose to continue that I was not going to heal.  I simply looked at him and asked him what he expected me to do when no one had clean clothes and dirty dishes were piling up.  He told me he expected me to tell my husband that I needed help.

Little did he know that I’d been begging Bubba to help but he always had a reason why he couldn’t.  I finally broke down and asked the same friend who’d brought me home from the hospital to help me clean my house.

The way Bubba acted in the hospital and when I got out were all methods of punishing me.  I had to have surgery and it was something for me.  I hadn’t consulted him even though he’d been at the appointment.  The doctor had said I’d needed the surgery and I readily agreed.  I was being punished for not being able to do my job.  And back then I didn’t know that this was what was happening.  When I needed to be taken care of, Bubba refused to help so that I ended up in even more pain than I should’ve ever have been in.

My surgery should’ve been about me.  Instead it was twisted into how it affected Bubba.  I should’ve been allowed to heal.  Instead, it took me longer to heal because I wasn’t allowed to heal properly in the first place.

My surgery became all about Bubba and how I needed to be punished for having something wrong with me that needed to be fixed.

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